What is this “Mass” thing all about?
If you have never been to a Catholic Mass, or maybe you have been away for a while, we are excited to have you with us, and we hope it will be positive. The Catholic Mass is rich in symbolism, scripture, rituals and traditions. Yet, to be honest it can be a little strange at first, and you may feel like you just jumped into the deep-end. Don’t worry though, we are here to help!
We recommend coming with someone who is familiar with the Mass already, as they can help explain things along the way. But in case you are coming on your own, the last thing we would want is for you to feel unwelcome during the service, so here is a short breakdown of the Mass.
The Mass can be simplified into two main parts:
1. The Liturgy of the Word
During the first part of the Mass, after the entrance song and the opening prayers, everyone sits down as we listen to the Word of God be proclaimed. We hear scriptures read from both the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Priest will then read from one of the four Gospels and will then give a homily (sermon). The homily, which is given by the priest, “breaks open” the Word of God and applies it to our daily lives. After the homily, we profess together our beliefs (the Nicene or Apostle’s Creed) which has been a proclamation of unity in the Church since she began. Then we move onto a time of intercessions for the World, the Church and our community.
Still with us? You are doing great. The best part is yet to come!
2. The Liturgy of the Eucharist
During the second part of the Mass, we continue to make our way towards the pinnacle or climax of the celebration, the Holy Eucharist. Bread and wine are brought forward as gifts to the priest at the altar. Christ who instituted the priesthood acts through the priest to transform the bread and wine into his body and blood. This is not merely symbolic, but this actually occurs. The big word we use for this is “Transubstantiation.” We won’t try to explain all that right now, but know that Jesus instituted the Eucharist at the Last Supper and commanded us to do this in remembrance in him. We are not “re-crucifying” Jesus, or making up anything new. Rather, we are participating in the ONE offering of Jesus Christ upon the Cross at Calvary for our sins. In essence, The mass makes present in our lives today the one and same sacrifice of Jesus that happened 2000 years ago. The past and future join together in the present. We join with the Angels and Saints in heaven who are united in worship with us. This is why the Eucharist is our source and summit, and why the Mass is so important to Catholics. The Eucharist is the bread of life.
All Catholics are invited to receive Jesus and to partake in the Eucharist (Holy Communion). It is important to mention that, because we are sinners, none of us are truly worthy to receive the Eucharist. It is Jesus who makes us worthy to approach him and we express this truth when we pray just before receiving communion: “Lord, I am not worthy to receive You…, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”
Receiving communion acknowledges both our faith in Christ as well as our communion with the Apostolic teaching of the Church.
If you are not Catholic, please refrain from receiving Holy Communion as it is meant to foster the unity of our Catholic belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.
If you are a Catholic who has been away from the Church for a while, or are aware of any serious sins in your life that are not keeping with the teachings of the Catholic Church, then you are invited to first reconcile with God by going to Confession (Sacrament of Reconciliation) before receiving the Eucharist.
Thank you for respecting our beliefs and practices with regards to receiving Holy Communion at Mass.
Please do know, that even if you are not a Catholic, or if you are not yet prepared to receive Jesus in the Eucharist, you are still welcome to come up during communion for a blessing. Simply cross your arms over your chest to indicate to the minister to give you a blessing. You can make a spiritual communion with Jesus, expressing your desire to be more united to him, and hope to receive him fully, in his Body and Blood in the future.
Once Holy Communion has been distributed, the Priest will purify the sacred vessels. Remember, that because the bread and wine is not merely bread and wine anymore (only appearing so), we need to consume and purify the vessels, showing utmost reverence to Jesus who so freely pours himself out for us.
The Priest will then conclude the Mass with a closing prayer and he sends us out. When we leave the Church we are really entering mission territory. Church doesn’t end on Sunday, it is merely the beginning. A “recharge” if you will, where we go forth to evangelize and serve our brothers and sisters. For we are called to be the light of the world and salt of the earth.
I hope that now, while the Mass may still seem confusing, will be less intimidating. If you have questions still, please talk with one of our priests after Mass. They would love to meet you and journey with you!
Does it matter which Mass I go to?
No, it doesn’t matter which Mass time you go to. Although each of our weekend masses have a slightly different feel to them, we gather as one body of believers to worship God.
Saturday (Anticipated) 5pm
- Traditional Music with Cantor
- Contemporary Worship.
- Children’s Liturgy offered.
- Coffee social after in the Atrium.
- Contemporary Worship.
- Contemporary Worship.
What about my kids?
Bring them to Church with you! At St. Maurice we are a family, and we love to see children present. Children are a sign of hope and they are the future of the Church. We are edified to see so many young families dedicated to bringing their children to mass and forming them in the faith. We understand that children can be noisy or fidgety at times. We are just glad you are here with us.
If you feel that you need to get up during Mass because your child is being too noisy, that is okay. But please come back. You are part of our family and your presence matters to us!
If you are looking to connect with other young families, please come to our 9:00am Mass on Sunday. We offer a children’s liturgy during that mass, where children can learn about the faith and do activities until after the homily. This gives parents the opportunity to enter into the Mass and receive. Then be sure to go downstairs after mass to the Atrium and socialize during our coffee social.